For a few short years in the early 1990s, Richard Marx had become a cliche, relentlessly tagged to his over-aired ballads Right Here Waiting and Now and Forever. The man who sold 30 million albums after the first 10 years of his career had turned into VH1 fodder.
Then he surprised the music industry by reinventing himself as a writer and producer capable of penning songs for superstar singers as diverse as Barbra Streisand, Luther Vandross, Leann Rimes, Vince Gil, Sarah Brightman and Michael Bolton. Behind the boy-band face lies a soulful, talented songsmith with a knack for cranking out heartwarming, evergreen ballads.
“It’s mostly luck that I have done well,” Marx said in a phone interview last month when asked how he had achieved such success. “I do it because it’s just something I love.”
Dance With My Father, the poignant tribute to Luther Vandross’ father co-written by Marx, scored the late R ’n’ B wunderkind’s first No. 1 hit and garnered the Song of the Year award at the Grammies in 2003. In 2005, Marx penned the runaway hit Better Life for Keith Urban (better known as Nicole Kidman’s husband), producing the biggest hit in Marx’s career.
Marx is revered by his peers as much as he is adored by his fans. He was a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band in 2006 and is currently touring with Vertical Horizon’s lead singer Matt Scannell.
In September 2008 Marx made a foray into rock with his album Emotional Remains, his first new studio release in five years.
“I’m inspired all the time. When I am in the gym, when I am walking outside or when I’m doing stuff in my home,” said Marx, who had written 13 No. 1 hits as of last year. “I have notes of music everywhere. Then I have to make time to piece these segments of music together in the studio.”
Asked why his songs appeal to audiences across the globe, Marx offered his take on the art of balladry: “It describes emotions everyone has felt in life. Whether you have been in love or you are imagining being in love, ballads are emotional and universal.”
Having grown up in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career, Marx is dismissive of TV talent shows and the quick route to fame they promise. “I say just ignore all [the] hype and spend time to work on your craft. Play in a band. Or work on your songwriting.”
“It [American Idol] provides opportunities for singers who need the platform, but it can’t help those who are not ready yet,” said Marx. “The idol phenomenon has been around for nine years but it has produced very few real stars. In the end, you need the music to connect with the audiences.”
As to what to expect on April 17 when he plays Taipei Arena, his gig “will be a ‘greatest hits’ show plus a couple of new songs from my new album,” said Marx. “There won’t be big productions or stage effects. It will just be the music, the song and me. It will be you spending time with Richard Marx.”
WHAT: Richard Marx 2010 World Tour
WHEN: April 17 at 7:30pm
WHERE: Taipei Arena (台北小巨蛋), 2, Nanjing E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市南京東路四段2號)
ADMISSION: NT$800 to NT$4,200, available through ERA ticketing outlets or online at www.ticket.com.tw
ON THE NET: www.richardmarx.com
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and